Wesley Botton
Chief sports writer
2 minute read
26 Apr 2018
7:36 pm

Semenya backed by politicians and sport officials

Wesley Botton

South African government and sports bodies have stood up in support of middle-distance runner Caster Semenya.

Caster Semenya. (Photo by Boris Streubel/Getty Images for Laureus)

This follows the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) confirming the application of new rules on Thursday that were allegedly aimed at sidelining the world and Olympic 800m champion.

The new regulations, which will come into effect in November, will apply only to athletes competing over distances between 400m and the mile (1.609km) and would force women with hyperandrogenism to reduce their natural testosterone levels in order to compete internationally.

Athletes born with the condition, which elevated the production of androgens, would be classified under the new Difference of Sexual Development (DSD) category.

SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) president Gideon Sam

“We are concerned that the decisions have been approved without taking into account all factors into consideration, as these factors have not been properly nor fully ventilated.

“We wish to place on record that Caster Semenya has never engaged in any performance enhancing activities and any enhanced testosterone levels are due solely to her genetic make up.

“We understand the emotion around the IAAF’s ruling, but we first need to conduct a detailed study into the ruling and internally we will be engaging with both the Athletics SA and Sascoc medical commissions before deciding on what step needs to be taken going forward.”

Athletics South Africa

“As a federation, we will study the new regulations and compare them with the CAS (Court of Arbitration for Sport) recommendations to see if they are compatible and in line.

“We will further seek support from the minister of sport and recreation, Sascoc, other expert institutions and relevant organisations or individuals, so that we have a full grasp of this matter and how it should be properly handled.

“Once done, we will then inter-act with the IAAF. We want to state very clearly that we support all our athletes who may be affected by this new ruling.”

Sport and Recreation SA

“The Sport and Recreation Ministry will continuously engage with relevant bodies and utilise all available avenues to ensure that Caster and other athletes likely to be affected by this are allowed to participate unhindered by measures to reduce their competitive edge.”

ANC Women’s League

“The ANCWL calls for Department of Sport and Recreation to challenge this law by the IAAF to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

“In our view this law is aimed at removing Caster from athletics. Caster has been subjected to vicious attack and the ANCWL will unapologetically defend her against this attacks even when are smuggled through back door as laws by IAAF.

“The ANCWL stands by Caster Semenya and calls all South Africans to support her and many women facing homophobic attacks.”